How do you do, RESTO?

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REnovation Strategy TOol (RESTO) pilot of the FinEst Centre, TalTech Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Institute of Software Science aims to develop an innovative digital platform for municipal decision-makers and real estate owners that would allow them to define, generate, simulate and quantitatively analyse full-renovation scenarios adapted to specific districts and buildings in order to make sensible investment decisions. The Pilot is carried out together with Võru city government in a district in their town centre, and the RESTO team is led by Prof. Targo Kalamees from TalTech Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

RESTO is expected to allow to evaluate the impact of alternatives in connection to different aspects such as technology, building and infrastructure design, urban planning, and business models. 

3D map of Võru city centre area

Furthermore, utilising the digital twin data from the Building Registry (www.ehr.ee) and other public databases makes it possible to visualise and identify optimal configurations that allow to account predefined limitations like availability of funds, energy performance ambition, special heritage restrictions, infrastructure options and limitations, environmental goals etc.

The pilot project was kicked off in January this year and is due in June 2023. At first the selected pilot area in Võru is a heritage area in Võru town. The aim was to include an area that would consist of different, but representative buildings in Estonia and other countries. Peculiarity of Võru city centre is that there are number of wooden heritage buildings that require renovation, but should preserve also the milieu value of the area. It means that not all renovation options are accepted in those buildings.

During first months the RESTO team has concentrated on gathering and validating the existing data about the pilot area buildings and has built up a database of reference buildings that can be used in the platform to assess the current and renovated state of the buildings. This would help to assess the renovation requirements of specific buildings and districts. In this process RESTO team has cooperated with DigiAudit pilot team to guarantee a swift flow of data between platforms. Special effort is required to use the electricity and heat consumption data of buildings in the way that is compatible with data protection rules.

In parallel the team has explored standard renovation options that could be used as reference for identification of the best renovation strategies. This would include also the integration of different infrastructure limitations and restrictions of heritage buildings into common strategical solution.

In addition, Võru City has selected an old wooden apartment building with high milieu value, where they support owners of apartments to prepare the project documentation for full renovation of the house to reach nearly zero energy building (EPC “A”). It requires a strong effort to find suitable technical, social, and energetic solutions that would not destroy the preserved heritage value. The preconditions for the renovation are now defined and the procurement for the project preparation company will be shortly announced.

The pilot has received a lot of interest from government authorities: it is expected that RESTO would advance the leadership of municipalities in the Green Transition, where renovation of buildings plays a crucial role. The pilot has also been presented in several public events where real estate developers have been very interested towards RESTO outcome.

The pilot team has also explored a similar tool that has been developed in the Netherlands, and found that the quality of original data there is much better than in Estonian Housing Registry. Therefore, RESTO must approach differently the assessments of energy efficiency status of the buildings to overcome the shortcomings of the data.

The pilot program is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Estonian Ministry of Research and Education.